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As we walked Violet, our Goldendoodle, early this morning, my wife Betsy asked what I had planned for my day. I listed several chores I was going to do around the house and added that I hoped to publish a blog, if only inspiration would come. I explained that the well had been dry the last few days, but I was remaining committed to share what I believe God puts on my heart.

Things still appeared a bit dry, even as I began to research John 11, the raising of Lazarus, as a possible blog. It was at this time that my phone let me know I had a new text message from our dear friend Cheryl. (I highly recommend checking out her blog, Care for Parkinson’s, found here on WordPress, to get to know her as we have. She is a blessing!)

Anyway, Cheryl shared a devotion for today that had spoken to her in such a way that she wanted Betsy and I to have access to it as well. Having now read this, I feel the prompting of Holy Spirit to share some thoughts on this passage of Scripture. Thank you Cheryl for the nudge I needed today!!

Chapter 14 of Matthew’s gospel contains the familiar account of Jesus walking on the turbulent sea toward the boat the disciples were struggling against the wind in. Verse 26 tells us what they felt as this unexpected sight: When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear. (NIV)

Jesus then attempts to assure them that it is indeed Him, and they need not fear. At this point Peter speaks up, “Lord, if it is you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” (Matthew 14:28 NIV)

You probably know the rest of the story: Jesus tells Peter to come to Him on the water. Peter jumps out of the boat and does start to walk on the water, only to start sinking when he took his focus off Jesus and put it on the waves all around him.

Lessons abound on this point, as much has been written and said about Peter’s apparent lack of faith. Even Jesus points this out to the Twelve when He and Peter get into the boat with them as He chastises them for having doubt instead of faith.

To be honest, I sometimes want to get a little judgmental toward the disciples. I mean, they had seen Jesus do so much. He had healed many and produced food for thousands out of basically nothing. His teachings and overt actions of love toward so many had been witnessed by this select group.

But I am not in judging mode today. Today instead of pointing a figurative finger at the disciples, I am instead marveling that Peter got out of the boat at all. I do not have much experience being aboard boats, save a few canoe trips (on a calm pond) and sight-seeing cruises around The 1000s Islands here in Northern NY.

This makes me appreciate all the more what Peter did. At least he got out of the boat at the invitation of Jesus. We can safely assume he was as startled/scared as any of them at the sight of someone walking toward them on the water; water that the 12 had been struggling to cross for some hours in the dark of night.

Yet, Peter got out of the boat. I believe I understand a few things better now as I re-read this narrative. First, Peter asked Jesus a specific question (If it is you, tell me to come to you on the water. V. 28) to which Jesus simply said, “Come.”

Despite what he was feeling, Peter heard from Jesus, and got out of the boat. He could have stayed aboard with the others, waiting to see how this played out. Sure, it was windy and wavy, but he was an experienced mariner and probably knew he would survive this squall as he had many others before. Lesson received, Peter: Don’t stay paralyzed in a circumstance. Rather, seek Jesus. Ask Him what to do and then act in faith on His response.

This took a fair amount of courage on Peter’s part. Talk about literally stepping into the unknown! He trusted in Jesus, and got out of the boat! And for a few wondrous moments, he too was walking on the water. Next lesson from Peter: There may well be great wonder when you step out in faith. To get the fuller extent of this wonder, we need to keep our focus on Jesus. It is my intention to do so, but I/we all know that the world around us is often in upheaval, revealing things that often vie for our attention. Thanks to Peter’s example, I am going to make a better effort to stay focused on Jesus.

Yes, I plan on getting out of the boat more often because the One who calls me to is ever faithful. He will not allow me to fall by the way, so long as I realize I need Him for every step I take (be it on dry ground or not!?).

How about you? Any ‘getting out the boat’ experiences you would like to share?

 I would love to hear them.

As always, thanks for reading. I appreciate your time.

Be blessed and be a blessing,

Pastor Chuck

9 thoughts on “He Got Out of the Boat

  1. Thanks for this post, and the lessons you pointed out.

    Personally, I think it probably required a great deal of courage for Peter to step out, because the winds and waves were high enough that even these experienced mariners were afraid. I’m sure they had been in many storms, but this one must have been pretty severe for all of them to be so afraid as to put them in a mind that they thought Jesus was a ghost.

    We can be close to the Lord, but when something happens of greater severity than anything previously experienced, we lose our focus on Jesus. I need to have the tenacity to just hang on to Him, rather than default to being upset by the new circumstances.

    As far as “getting out of the boat”: I asked the Lord to help me get out of my comfort zone, which is very small. A friend about 20 miles away asked if I would check in on her cats. I said, “Sure”. The directions she gave me involved traveling on the expressway. I’m not a fan of doing that, but I made it. I’m a little more confident now. I’m sure this is laughably small to many people, but to me it was a big deal.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I can relate to “default to being upset by new circumstances.” When faced with something new, I usually project the worst possible outcome on it, which in turn causes me much internal stress. I know that God is with me, but often times in the moment, I stop realizing that and attempt to forge on alone. Driving in the winter conditions of where I live was a huge issue for me, as it nearly paralyzed me into immobility. It was only through the gentle urging Holy Spirit that I was able to give that over to His care, this freeing me from the fear.
      Thanks so much for reading and commenting.
      Pastor Chuck

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I totally understand about the winter weather driving. One reason I took jobs near home is because of that.
        But one night at work (10 miles away), customers came in and said the roads were getting bad. I was scheduled to work until 10 pm. I had all kinds of “What if” thoughts running in my mind. I prayed, the Lord said, “It’ll be OK”. I’d have peace for a little while, then the fear thoughts started again. I prayed, the Lord said, “Don’t worry, it’ll be OK”. This cycle went on and on, until finally the Lord said, “Ok, worry if you want to!” It dawned on me that my worrying wouldn’t change things at all. I could worry, and my blood pressure would go up; or I could believe the Lord, and have peace. I finally chose to trust God. I’d be OK, because the Lord said I’d be OK. I was OK; the road crews had plowed and salted. I drove home a little slower, but I was fine. Since then, I’m more confident.

        Liked by 1 person

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